Discover ten exciting on- and off-shore adventures in the sunny DR this winter
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: With a heaping 25 percent of its lush green land and pristine coastal areas protected as national parks, reserves and sanctuaries, the DR is the most bio-diverse country in the Caribbean and is a major destination for ecotourists, most notably for whale watching in Samana Bay. Since 1962, the DR has led the Caribbean in preserving sensitive eco-systems through partnerships with leaders like the Nature Conservancy, the United Nations and the Smithsonian to establish powerful environmental protections. In turn, the DR offers an array of eco-friendly activities for travelers pursuing adventures that best promote conservation and preservation issues.
The DR’s reserves and sanctuaries are a vital tourism draw to the DR’s fabled lush green surroundings. The Sanctuary for Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic is one of the most renowned and at 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) it surrounds the Peninsula of Samana. Considered one of the first whale sanctuaries in the world, it was established in 1966 and has been expanded since then to ensure the best protection for whales.
Each winter, 3,000 to 5,000 whales migrate to the warm crystalline waters of the Bay of Samana. Whale-watching season begins in mid-January and continues through the end of March, however, excursions are available as long as whales remain in the bay.
These gentle creatures migrate with intentions of mating and giving birth. While the males assertively romp in the outer bays competing for females, the females reside along the shallow waters of the inner bay to provide a nursery for their young. Explore and enjoy these top 10 ecotourism activities and hotspots according to each region of the DR:
Northeast Coast Region
Whale Watching on Samana Bay – Whale watching tours are offered for guests to observe the humpback whales and listen to their song at a close range without endangering them or risking their safety. Nestled among the Caribbean mountains on the Northeast Coast of the DR, the Samana Peninsula is famous for its quiet, unspoiled beaches, radiant turquoise ocean waters and lush green mountains, making it an “off-the-beaten-path” destination for eco-tourists.
Discover Los Haitises National Park – Known for tropical mangrove forests and rich biodiversity, Los Haitises National Park offers visitors a chance to explore its natural splendor by hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding through the subtropical forest. Furthermore, this national park boasts impressive caves once inhabited by the Taino Indians who left behind ancient cave drawings and pottery on the dusty cavern floors.
Cascade the 27 Falls – There is nothing more thrilling than jumping, sliding and cascading down 43 foot rushing waters into a plethora of sparkling pools. A mere 30 minutes away from Puerto Plata, adventure travelers will discover the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua.
Kite Board on Kite Beach – The Kiteboard Capital of the World, Cabarete Bay, is located a half an hour east of Puerto Plata and is the premiere destination for tourists seeking adventure. Cabarete Bay possesses temperate weather and perfect trade winds, making for an ideal location for water sports like kiteboarding, cascading, scuba diving, surfing, boogie-boarding and more.
Hike to the Salto de Jimenoa Waterfall – Hikers are sure to enjoy the climb to Salto de Jimenoa in Jarabacoa, a 131-foot-high magnificent waterfall, which offers unequivocal views of the canyon below. Unparalleled in beauty, the open canyon is surrounded by verdant flora and marvelous rock formations.
Climb Pico Duarte – Seasoned hikers flock to climb Pico Duarte, which as 10,560 feet, is the highest mountain in the Caribbean. Pico Duarte, in addition to other impressive peaks, lies within the Central Cordillera Mountain Range in Jarabacoa. Hikers, campers and mountain bikers alike frequent this region for some of the country’s most sensational outdoor experiences and views.
South Coast Region
Explore Tres Ojos – Los Tres Ojos National Park, a national park of the Cave of Three Eyes, is located on the South Coast and is a perfect destination for ecotourists in search of an unparalleled caving adventure through magnificent limestone caves and fresh springs. Further east in La Romana, adventurers can uncover Cueva de las Maravillas, or Cave of Miracles, another series of brilliant caves with Taino drawings encrypted on the inner walls.
Catamaran to Isla Saona – A prime destination for island-hopping, Isla Saona lies just off of the Southeast Coast of the DR, nestled in the National Park of the East. Stretching 42 square miles, Isla Saona is the country’s largest off-shore island and boasts 112 species of birds, turtles, sharks, bottle-nose dolphins, whales and manatees.
Cruise Lake Enriquillo – At 15 feet below sea level, Lake Enriquillo is the lowest point in the Caribbean and is just one of the many stunning areas that make up the Jaragua-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve. In addition to Lake Enriquillo, the Southwest region features a plethora of rich biodiversity, which includes highlands, arid deserts, mud banks and lagoons. Visitors can also spot mesmerizing crocodiles, wild iguanas, colorful flamingos and other exotic reptiles and birds.
Dive and Snorkel DR Waters – Home to 1,000 miles of pristine beaches, the DR has endless snorkeling and diving opportunities. From Sosua to Punta Cana, travelers can find dozens of prime spots with clear waters and beautiful sea life, including bygone shipwrecks, schools of colorful fish, ancient caves and vibrant coral reefs.
The Dominican Republic (DR) is closer than you think with fourteen international and national airports, several major seaports and world-class marinas making travel to the Caribbean’s second largest island a breeze. The Dominican Republic’s first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Rich in history, the DR has developed into a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to more than one million U.S. visitors each year. Named #1 Golf Destination in Caribbean & Latin America by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, the DR boasts 25+ designer golf courses, upscale resorts, pristine nature, and sophisticated cities and quaint villages filled with warm Dominican people. The DR features the best beaches, fascinating history and culture, and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families alike. Visit the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official website
Club Mediterranee Signs Green Globe Certification Partnership
Club Mediterranée announces a new ten year partnership for sustainability with Green Globe Certification. The partnership will guarantee Club Med access to the Green Globe Standard for sustainable operation and management of its resorts worldwide, via a dedicated online certification system.
Ms. Agnès Weil, Club Mediterranée Director of Sustainable Development said. With 11% of our village portfolio already eco-certified, we are convinced that these actions are useful, not only in terms of environmental and societal issues, but also in terms of economics and team motivation. Club Med has already worked with three major international organisations in the sustainable tourism field, and appreciates Green Globe Certification’s reliability and dynamism.”
Currently Green Globe has certified four Club Mediterranee villages worldwide: Club Med Turkoise, Turks and Caicos; Club Med Chamonix Mont Blanc, France; Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Club Med Cherating, Malaysia. Mr Guido Bauer, Green Globe Certification CEO said, Mr. Guido Bauer; This partnership extends
Green Globe Certification program through to yet another of the worlds leading tourism chains. From our experience so far we can see that those Club Med properties who have already completed certification are currently saving from 4% to 6% more water and 2% to 8% more energy compared to Villages that are not yet fully involved in our program.
In addition to the new partnership, Club Mediterranee also participates in the Green Globe International Advisory Group, which is responsible for maintaining the internationally recognized Green Globe Standard. The Green Globe International Advisory Group recently completed a review to ensure that the Green Globe Standard is in line with the Global Sustainability Tourism Criteria.
About Green Globe Certification
Green Globe Certification is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe Certification is based in California, USA and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is the only certification brand to be an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is partly owned by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a member of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) governing council. For information visit www.greenglobe.com
Eco-tourism: new trend or mere catchphrase?
Tourism industry has huge economic potential but unorganised and unsustainable growth has also resulted in resource overexploitation . This article reflects on the status of Eco-tourism in India to review whether the concept has evolved as a new trend or has merely remained a catchphrase.
The year 2010 is the International year of bio-diversity and one of the key areas of discussion through the year has been the role of tourism in undermining bio-diversity and erosion of environment heritage.
There have been series of dialog and fora focused at discussing ways to undertake tourism in an ecological friendly way and thus arrest and /or mitigate the impact of tourism on the loss of biological diversity.
Broadly speaking, ecotourism entails ‘responsible’ travel with minimised ecological impact and distribution of the actual trade of benefits between tour operators and the communities. It needs to be viewed differently from the ‘nature tourism’ sector. This requires a commitment not only from government but also from the tourists and the communities being impacted. While the concept of ecotourism has been around for quite some time the recent efforts seem to be building the pitch in a substantive fashion.
On the Indian front, emphasis on eco-tourism has been part of the official policy for over a decade. In 1998, India released its National Ecotourism Policy & Guidelines which laid key principles of ecotourism and recognized the country’s potential to become one of the leading ecotourism destinations in the world.
Speaking at the World Tourism day in end September, the Indian Tourism Minister, Ms. Selja reiterated Government’s efforts and commitment towards a sustainable tourism framework in the country. The minister highlighted the negative fallouts of unregulated growth in tourism viz. the ecology and bio diversity elements across various tourist destinations in the country.
The theme ‘Tourism and Biodiversity’ for World Tourism Day 2010 was apt and reiterated the role sustainability needs to play in tourism development. At this very event multiple stakeholders from the tourism sector signed a Pledge on Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism and Sustainable Tourism thus making compliance with the global environment and heritage maintenance standards as a central tenet for the sector.
Recently Adventure operator Explore was recognized for managing the ‘most sustainable tour’ for a ‘Tiger Tiger’ itinerary in India at the sustainable tourism awards announced by the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO). Recognitions of this nature help build an appreciation for a focus on conservation and advantages of proactively weaving sustainability into the fabric of tourism planning. The tourism industry is currently assumed to be contributing about 2.4% of the GDP and this is expected to go upto 6.2% by 2018. Given the huge economic potential, there have been instances of exploitation of resources leading to ecological imbalance due to tourism activities.
India, with its diverse resources surely has a high potential to develop as leading ecotourism destinations. Nonetheless, on-ground scenario reflects quite a challenging situation for ecotourism to flourish as a concept.
Many tour operators consider eco-tourism merely as travel to natural location. Ecotourism is a fashionable punch line for many of the tour operators and travel planners. But there arises a bigger question- how do you determine if these claims are true? Absence of national or international guidelines and certification program makes it quite difficult to authenticate the claims.
The Government is currently considering a draft framework on sustainable tourism criteria. In addition, certain ‘green’ and eco-friendly practices have been made mandatory in the revised guidelines for granting approval for hotels.
However there are still aspects such as rapid population growth and its resultant impact on travel demand that need to be considered while formulating a comprehensive policy response for shaping a true eco-tourism construct in the country. It is critical to ensure that there is a common outlook on eco-tourism and the same should encompass sustainability and conservation of ecosystem through local community participation. Surely integration of high environmental stewardship with tourism activities is needed for the realization of safe and sustainable growth.
Green Globe University Announces New Sustainability Training for
Travel and Tourism Professionals
Green Globe provides sustainability services and certification since 1993. Originally founded in the UK, the company is based in Los Angeles/California with Preferred Partnerships in Europe, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, India as well as Asia. Green Globe University announces new training programs for travel industry professionals who wish to improve their understanding of sustainable operation and management. The Green Globe training programs deliver a comprehensive overview of the key practices that now underpin the internationally accepted standards for sustainability.
The first two training programs available include:
A free introductory module that introduces participants to the concepts of sustainability and the Green Globe Certification program; and, Comprehensive training designed for hotel environmental officers and management and focus on providing a foundation in sustainability issues and practices and encompasses all aspects of the Green Globe Certification Standard.
The complete Green Globe Certification Sustainability Training Program (designed for hotel environmental officers and management) is available from US$250.00 through to US$1,250.00 per participant depending on the size of the organization.
Volume discounts are also available to tourism businesses wishing to train more than 10 students. Programs tailored to the specific needs of businesses, including branding, are also available and priced on request.
Supplementary programs will also be available in the near future to cover specific industry sectors including Administration Offices, Conference Centers, Green Meetings and Events, Attractions, Spas, and Cruise Ships. Live tutorials and coaching by an accredited Green Globe trainer is available on request.
The Green Globe University can be found at http://www.greenglobeuniversity.com and if you would like further information or to register for a course, please email to email@example.com
About Green Globe Certification
Green Globe Certification is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe Certification is based in California, USA and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is the only certification brand to be an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is partly owned by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a member of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) governing council. For more information visit www.greenglobe.com
Natural beauty at Cherating Beach, Club Med’s first eco- nature Resort
Cherating Beach, an exceptionally beautiful 4T Resort in Malaysia situated between protected
jungle and the magnificent jade-green South China Sea offers guests an amazing wildlife
experience. This first Eco-Nature Resort by Club Med, Cherating Beach boasts 80 hectares of
tropical forest and 4 kilometres of unspoilt beaches. This preserved natural site boasts authentic,
eco-aware architecture of traditional kampong-style timber bungalows perched atop wooden stilts
integrated into the environment, and Green Globe benchmarking (Bronze).
The site comprises a nature reserve where turtles under threat of extinction come and lay their
eggs. The Reserve also provides a home for macaque monkeys and many more tropical species.
Children can discover wildlife at the Petit Club Med and Mini Club Med; a series of nature
activities and Eco-Nature discovery trails allow you and your family to explore a Resort committed
to protecting and respecting the environment.
Club Med Cherating Beach Resort is a 297-room resort located on Cherating Beach, surrounded by forest. Designed and built in 1977, it is constructed mainly with local materials which not only blend in perfectly with its surroundings but also saves on transportation costs. These bungalows of 850m are built on stilts to prevent flooding during the year-end monsoon season which brings heavy rainfall to Malaysia’s east coast.
Cherating Beach was chosen for Club Med’s first eco-nature resort as it has a large percentage of natural forest and pristine white beaches (75% of 80 hectares) compared to the built-up area of the resort. Many plant and animal species, including at least two endangered species – the Clouded Monitor Lizard and the Hornbill Bird – are found here. Endangered Green Turtles also come to lay their eggs on the beach here.
The resort is Now certified Earthcheck Silver 2010 which is part of the largest environmental management system used by the travel and tourism industry for the benchmarking and certification of their operational practices. It remains the only program that has more than a decade of industry-specific benchmarking data that lets businesses compare their performance EarthCheck is exclusively owned by EC3 Global, and is trusted by more than 1000 organisations in over 70 countries, among them InterContinental Hotels Group, Taj Hotels, Sandals, Lanham Hotels International, Banyan Tree, ACCOR.